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The UFL, and why I want it to work


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This was cropping up in the Stadium thread, and it seemed like a reasonable idea to make its own topic if people want to talk about it.

 

I'm going to come out and say it: the play I saw from the XFL and USFL was inferior to what is in the NFL. The thing is, that's not a game breaker for me for a few reasons.

 

  1. I don't know about you guys, but the season has been over for maybe two weeks and I am already feeling the offseason doldrums. It's a week before Combine, three weeks until free agency, two months until the draft and five months before training camp opens. As you can see, I've been counting. Even inferior play scratches the itch for me in its run up to June.
  2. Let's be honest here: of all the big 4 sports the NFL is the only one that doesn't have an official minor league. The NBA has the G league and less officially the Euro Leagues. The NHL has prospect leagues and the AHL. With the NFL? You have the draft coming out of college and if you are not one of the top picks the players have an incredibly tenuous future. The average NFL career is 3.3 years, which means a lot of players are drafted, have a few months to try to make a mark, get cut and never see the field. It happens every year. While it's not the norm, you get guys like Kurt Warner and Romo and Jason Peters and Fred Jackson. Not everyone is in peak body shape at 21. If you want a league where you might develop a guy so he can crack a roster? How am I going to complain about that?

 

I'm not saying I am going to sit down and breathlessly watch every game. But I'm going to try to catch a few and I hope it does well.

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10 minutes ago, WhitewalkerInPhilly said:

This was cropping up in the Stadium thread, and it seemed like a reasonable idea to make its own topic if people want to talk about it.

 

I'm going to come out and say it: the play I saw from the XFL and USFL was inferior to what is in the NFL. The thing is, that's not a game breaker for me for a few reasons.

 

  1. I don't know about you guys, but the season has been over for maybe two weeks and I am already feeling the offseason doldrums. It's a week before Combine, three weeks until free agency, two months until the draft and five months before training camp opens. As you can see, I've been counting. Even inferior play scratches the itch for me in its run up to June.
  2. Let's be honest here: of all the big 4 sports the NFL is the only one that doesn't have an official minor league. The NBA has the G league and less officially the Euro Leagues. The NHL has prospect leagues and the AHL. With the NFL? You have the draft coming out of college and if you are not one of the top picks the players have an incredibly tenuous future. The average NFL career is 3.3 years, which means a lot of players are drafted, have a few months to try to make a mark, get cut and never see the field. It happens every year. While it's not the norm, you get guys like Kurt Warner and Romo and Jason Peters and Fred Jackson. Not everyone is in peak body shape at 21. If you want a league where you might develop a guy so he can crack a roster? How am I going to complain about that?

 

I'm not saying I am going to sit down and breathlessly watch every game. But I'm going to try to catch a few and I hope it does well.

In addition to the players getting a chance to develop, it's also an opportunity for some guys in the coaching ranks to hoan their craft as well. Give guys that seem close to a HC opportunity to lead a team. Guys that have been passed over for a second shot at an NFL gig. Maybe a guy like an Eric Bienemey or a Leslie Frazier can grab a HC spot and show what they've got and get an opportunity they may have been passed on before.

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From what I’ve watched It’s a league with bad QBs that is pretty much a step below NFL practice squads in talent, it could very well “develop” “over time” into an actual feeder league, if it doesn’t go bankrupt in relatively near future, ( the NFL already has a huge feeder league via the college ranks) its business plan will need really deep pockets to keep it afloat long term. I guess it could be like watching triple or double A baseball teams, which can be fun, when I lived in Rochester I liked going to Red Wings games, 

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The NFL needs to have a league they can pool players they feel are too raw for the league to. 
 

Always wondered why they don’t have the Minor League in MLB, AHL in NHL and G-League in NBA…

 

Thats probably out of the window as the infrastructure for all 32 teams to have an affiliate would be rough. Best case scenario is using the UFL now that the XFL has merged into that league. Would be nice if they had a partnership with the CFL too. 


You then keep “player rights” whilst they are tenured at a team.  

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1 hour ago, WhitewalkerInPhilly said:

 

  1. Let's be honest here: of all the big 4 sports the NFL is the only one that doesn't have an official minor league. The NBA has the G league and less officially the Euro Leagues. The NHL has prospect leagues and the AHL. With the NFL? You have the draft coming out of college and if you are not one of the top picks the players have an incredibly tenuous future.

 

The NBA is far more like the NFL than MLB or NHL--nearly all of their players are from the NCAA via the draft.  The difference is that a lot of the G league guys were actually drafted then sent to the G.

 

This has been mentioned over and over--the NCAA is the NFL's minor league and it always will be.  A handful of guys moving from one of these always doomed leagues to the NFL not withstanding...

 

The reason is simple--that's where the best players are.  Guys who couldn't make or stay on an NFL roster are the ones who play for these leagues. 

 

1 hour ago, BuffaloBillyG said:

In addition to the players getting a chance to develop, it's also an opportunity for some guys in the coaching ranks to hoan their craft as well. Give guys that seem close to a HC opportunity to lead a team. Guys that have been passed over for a second shot at an NFL gig. Maybe a guy like an Eric Bienemey or a Leslie Frazier can grab a HC spot and show what they've got and get an opportunity they may have been passed on before.

 

Have you seen the list of HC's in these leagues?  These aren't developmental prospects.  They are burnt out former NFL and NCAA guys, as well as random players .  The "new"  UFL features Wade Philips, Bob Stoops, Anthony Becht (from the Home Shopping Network!!) lol.

 

I get that if you are really jonesing for any football at all once the NFL is done for the year, this is certainly something to put on your TV in the background while you do other stuff.   Hard to imagine spending one week after another in front of the tube watching this stuff after 2 or 3 weeks. 

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2 minutes ago, Don Otreply said:

From what I’ve watched It’s a league with bad QBs that is pretty much a step below NFL practice squads in talent, it could very well “develop” “over time” into an actual feeder league, if it doesn’t go bankrupt in relatively near future, ( the NFL already has a huge feeder league via the college ranks) its business plan will need really deep pockets to keep it afloat long term. I guess it could be like watching triple or double A baseball teams, which can be fun, when I lived in Rochester I liked going to Red Wings games, 

 

You hit on two things for me:

 

1) I have abundantly fond memories of going to Bisons games. My dad would sometimes let us play hooky from school to sneak out and go to the home opener. Now I have a major league team in my backyard, and while the play is undoubtably superior, when I am physically at a game I am there for the experience. I want a few beers and hot dogs, and to break open some peanuts and arguably those parks are a more intimate setting.

 

2) I do not like that NCAA DI has become effectively a minor league. Apart from the whole "they should be student athletes" and "how are football coaches the best paid state employees" part, not everyone hits their peak at 18-20, and everything gets filtered through the lens of high powered offenses that have not worked at the NFL level. 

 

Minor leagues would answer both.

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13 minutes ago, Don Otreply said:

From what I’ve watched It’s a league with bad QBs that is pretty much a step below NFL practice squads in talent, it could very well “develop” “over time” into an actual feeder league, if it doesn’t go bankrupt in relatively near future, ( the NFL already has a huge feeder league via the college ranks) its business plan will need really deep pockets to keep it afloat long term. I guess it could be like watching triple or double A baseball teams, which can be fun, when I lived in Rochester I liked going to Red Wings games, 

 

This is why the NFL protects QB's so much.  

 

Football is a team sport, but it's borderline unwatchable with poor QB play.  Everything else looks so much worse and it's hard to really evaluate anyone. 

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5 minutes ago, Mr. WEO said:

 

The NBA is far more like the NFL than MLB or NHL--nearly all of their players are from the NCAA via the draft.  The difference is that a lot of the G league guys were actually drafted then sent to the G.

 

This has been mentioned over and over--the NCAA is the NFL's minor league and it always will be.  A handful of guys moving from one of these always doomed leagues to the NFL not withstanding...

 

The reason is simple--that's where the best players are.  Guys who couldn't make or stay on an NFL roster are the ones who play for these leagues. 

 

 

 

That's the thing though. Would you be upset if there was something in place to keep the claim of a late round pick and then let them spend the spring playing in another league? Worst case, they wash out and it's a sunk cost you've already paid, and you might get a contributing player. 

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I wish the NCAA started at the beginning of March and ran until the end of June. Be a quick turnover for rookies and the draft would have to be held in July but I’m good with that. Especially if it means great football year-round.

 

Obviously I know this will never happen.

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1 minute ago, WhitewalkerInPhilly said:

That's the thing though. Would you be upset if there was something in place to keep the claim of a late round pick and then let them spend the spring playing in another league? Worst case, they wash out and it's a sunk cost you've already paid, and you might get a contributing player. 

 

 

If there was any evidence that this was at all common in the long history of these leagues, then yeah, maybe.  But it's not.

 

The reality we all know is that hardly any one watches these games and at some point the broadcasters don't want to eat the losses incurred by producing them and the plug gets pulled.  Until that inevitability, every NFL team is free to sign a guy from one of these leagues.  It's so rare that they do--this means that the NFL has already done this math and they know there is little value in supporting those rosters for the very rare "call-up".  

 

Also, the NFL draft is a month after the UFL season starts.

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The NFL needs a developmental league not necessarily for players but for officiating, coaching, scouts and front office. 

 

I also think it's the more appropriate league for the foreign players that didn't play a single down of college ball but have the physical talent for the game.

 

I'd take a successful UFL head coach over an NFL coordinator with no head coaching experience.  

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33 minutes ago, Mr. WEO said:

 

Have you seen the list of HC's in these leagues?  These aren't developmental prospects.  They are burnt out former NFL and NCAA guys, as well as random players .  The "new"  UFL features Wade Philips, Bob Stoops, Anthony Becht (from the Home Shopping Network!!) lol.

I have. Yes, right now the list isn't impressive. Maybe right now the 2 most intriguing names (and I use that generously) may be Mike Nolan as a retread option looking for a 2nd shot and John DeFilippo who was a pretty hot name a few years back. 

 

But if the league stabilizes a bit and is around for a while it's an excellent opportunity for especially younger HC hopefuls. Even a guy like Matt Nagy could use it as a shot to rebuild his image. 

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1 hour ago, BuffaloBillyG said:

I have. Yes, right now the list isn't impressive. Maybe right now the 2 most intriguing names (and I use that generously) may be Mike Nolan as a retread option looking for a 2nd shot and John DeFilippo who was a pretty hot name a few years back. 

 

But if the league stabilizes a bit and is around for a while it's an excellent opportunity for especially younger HC hopefuls. Even a guy like Matt Nagy could use it as a shot to rebuild his image. 

 

Nagy (who is 45 years old) is the Chief's OC.  He's not going to the UFL to burnish his resume....

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It's the same thing every time. Xfl, usfl, ufl. What's the difference? Nobody cares. This is what I proposed probably 10 years ago and nobody listened -

 

1. Put the teams in cities where people will care. Nobody in the big city is going to one of these games. Put a team in like Oklahoma City or Orlando (home games at Disney) or Rochester. Somewhere where they want football but can't get it otherwise

 

2. Make us care about the players. Have a TV show that follows their back story. There's probably a lot of great stories about how some of these guys were highly recruited but didn't make it for whatever reason. This is WAY more important than the actual football. Make us care!

 

3. QB play is essential. It's not a good game without great QB's. Pay big QB contracts to get guys if you need to. Maybe a practice squad NFL guy will want to play just to make some money.

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